Carmine, S., De Marchi, V., Di Maria, E., Galeazzo, A., The Tetris of Sustainability. Business model integrations and sustainability outcomes in hybrid organizations


Today’s social and environmental grand challenges – from the COVID-19 pandemic to the climate crisis – pose pressing demands on business. However, in order to address them and ensure an effective transition to a sustainable economy and society, companies cannot employ business-as-usual actions. Organizations are required to change the way they operate to achieve significant sustainability outcomes. Previous studies have provided a variety of existing SBMs archetypes through which companies can achieve sustainability outcomes. However, because sustainability is a complex phenomenon – involving multiple and even opposing social, environmental, and economic elements – to deliver significant social and environmental value, and to pursue real sustainability, organizations cannot rely on a single SBM, but need to integrate multiple sustainable models – which are not separate entities. These aggregations are not without consequences, indeed while combining various SMBs organizations might experience tensions and conflicts between them. However, such integrations can generate also opportunities for companies to improve their sustainability impact. Therefore, in this study, we investigate the combinations of different SBMs and their impact on sustainability performance, focusing our analysis on B Corporations, emerging hybrid organizations. We collected data regarding sustainability performance and SBMs adopted by B Corps in Italy, Spain and UK. Then, we apply qualitative comparative analysis to examine the possible configurations of SBMs that are associate with higher or lower sustainability performance.